David Stephens reviews WWE RAW for 3/4/13

David’s RAW Thoughts
March 5, 2013
By: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com

This week’s show was chalked up as a throwaway before it even hit the airwaves. Much to the surprise of the naysayers, it cemented a few storylines for Wrestlemania.

The first and the most important was the return of The Undertaker. While it was generally accepted that the Deadman would be appearing at Wrestlemania, it wasn’t until this episode that the return became a reality. The result of the night’s main event will pit the 20-0 undefeated streak against CM Punk. It remains to be seen how mobile Taker can be in the ring this year, but finally after a few years stretch, Taker will be facing an active member of a roster instead of an occasional performer or someone in the twilight of his career. Yes, The Undertaker will most likely win this match, but for the first time in a while, his opponent allows for a slight bit of doubt to creep into the fans’ conscience. This will only make the match stronger.

Cesaro lost to Ryback in a match that was not for the US Title. Cesaro has been losing a fair number of non-Title matches as of late. If he is really the future, it would be nice to see him win a match every now and then. That being said, I did suggest that Ryback win against some established opponents, so I’ll take it.

The Miz v. Ziggler was a fun and fast match really designed to allow Flair a bit of time to strut. Nothing monumental, but it was a nice touch for the old school episode.

Cena and Rock had an old school point-counterpoint encounter that set the framework for their storyline going into this match. Cena failed last year and needs to find redemption. Rock has already beaten Cena so he knows he can beat him again. Honestly if Cena doesn’t win this year I’d be completely shocked. Props to Rock for the Lance Armstrong quote. I chuckled.

The Tag Team Champions defeated The Primetime Players once again. This time Bryan and Kane were not handicapped, instead the focus was on the PTP as they hoped to persuade Ted Dibiase to represent them. Bryan grabbing the money out of Young’s mouth was one of the funnier moments of the night.

Swagger taking on Jim Duggan was an awkward moment as the match either never started, or never ended. The referee missed a cue and I’m not sold on the idea of having Rio attack Swagger backstage instead of coming down to the ring to make the save. It would have been more impactful and the crowd would have responded with grander fanfare.

Sweet T is a tad of an improvement over the Tensai gimmick. His body tattoos are a bit nonconformist for his new role, but at least he is being used. Tensai imagined that this run in the ‘E would be as a monster but the fans did not take to him. Instead, he has become a dancer with a bit of reaction. I’d like to believe that this will be a springboard for the escalation of his character in six months, but instead I feel like this was a desperation maneuver as creative simply could not come up with a way to get the Japanese warrior gimmick over.

Fandango received more heat than I was expecting. While he used the same talking points this past week on Smackdown, most of the RAW audience doesn’t watch that program and thus this was their first time seeing him refuse to enter until his name was pronounced correctly. It’s the little things and ideas that allow a talent to stand out.

HHH v. Brock Lesnar is a forgone conclusion. Their brawl on RAW last week was stronger than their entire Summerslam match so I’m not sure what to expect at ‘mania. I’m hoping for a brutal contest, but I fear that it will be sanitized and less impactful than these two men are capable of delivering.

I’m amused that after years as a lackluster heel Alberto Del Rio is finally connecting with the fans. Hey, I’ll admit that I’m actually interested in his character for the first time pretty much ever. Wade was distracted by Zeb and Swagger which allowed Rio to scoop up the victory.

The Zeb & Swagger promo on Political Correctness may not have met its intended goal. Unlike the past vignettes that enraged the fans, this one was pretty accurate and connected to the ideologies of many. Instead of riling up the fans, the reaction was more along the lines of, “yeah that sounds reasonable”.

It’s always fun to see an old tag team back in action. It had been 13 years since the New Age Outlaws had competed as a team on RAW.

Mark Henry being present for Mae Young’s 90th birthday party received a fair chuckle. Props to Punk as he crashed through the shindig and shouted, “what are you going to do about it woman?”

The Shield look poised to engage in another Six-Man tag at ‘mania. Their likely opponents appear to be Sheamus & Randy Orton. The third has been left up in the air, but a turned Big Show would be a possibility.

Wrestlemania season is in full swing as several storylines have started to take shape. This is generally the time of the year when I love to be a wrestling fan. It’s our Superbowl. Maybe our favorite “teams” didn’t make the cut but it’s still a grand spectacle to watch. Some are skeptical about this year’s card, but that need not be the case. Let the angles percolate, this could be a great one.

Send me an email or discuss the show in the comments below. Until next time.

David Stephens
Follow me on Twitter: @TheDaveStephens

David Stephens is the official recapper of WWE RAW for Wrestleview.com.